Every woman I know has found herself at some point in her life staring into her bursting-at-the-seams wardrobe with nothing to wear. But rather than hitting the shops and adding to the growing credit card balance and piles of clothes in your closet, how about shwopping instead?
Shwopping (clothes swapping), also known as swishing, is a growing trend among style- and sustainability-conscious fashionistas. And for a good reason: it lets you get rid of clothes that have been lurking in the depths of your wardrobe, unworn, for ages, whilst saving money and resources that would have been used for making new clothes.
As the Founder of Swishing, Lucy Shea, eloquently sums up the concept: “Save money, save the planet, have a party: swishing effortlessly touches all of these buttons. Swishing parties are for all those women who want to combine glamour, environmental protection and frugality.”
Throwing a shwopping party for your friends is easy: each brings several unwanted but quality items, you all have fun trying them on and then proceed with the exchange. As someone who’s been shwopping for over a year – with a group of green-and-glam friends – I can testify that it feels like guilt-free retail therapy!
Here are a few tips to make your shwopping party a success:
- Make sure that people are inviting have a reasonable chance at fitting into each other’s clothes;
- Agree beforehand the kind of budget you would aim for: there’s nothing worse than parting with your expensive designer coat and getting a cheapie dress instead;
- Do not ignore clothes that you would not normally go for in a shop – this is your chance to try something new and different;
- If more than one person wants an item, just flip a coin;
- Create a nice party atmosphere with music, drinks and snacks to get everyone in the mood; and
- Decide what happens with the leftover clothes, such as donating them to a reputable charity or bringing them to a retailer that offers clothes recycling schemes.
Besides home-style shwopping, here are some online and brick-and-mortar clothes swapping schemes that are worth checking out:
SwapStyle prides itself on being the world’s longest standing free online fashion swap marketplace where women from all around the world swap clothes online and save lots of money in the process.
The Clothing Exchange was founded by Kate Luckins in Melbourne, Australia in 2004. Following a collaboration with the L’Oreal Melbourne Fashion Festival in 2006, The Clothing Exchange has become a regular event for swappers in a host of wonderful venues across Australia.
With bases in London and Paris, Rentez-Vous is a peer-to-peer designer clothing rental marketplace that allows girls to change clothes every day without breaking the bank while making money from their wardrobe.
According to the British retailer Marks & Spencer, which launched its own ‘shwopping’, or clothes recycling scheme, in 2012: “Shwopping is about challenging and changing the way we all shop. We’re not asking you to stop buying clothes, rather aiming to create a ‘buy one, give one’ culture, where reusing, recycling or reselling old clothes becomes the norm.”